Cutting-Edge Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo to Perform at Holy Cross

The Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo—Helena Bugallo and Amy Williams—will perform a concert of prepared piano music on Tuesday, March 13 at 8 p.m. in Brooks Concert Hall at the College of the Holy Cross. The event is free, open to the public and handicap accessible.

The program, part of the Duo’s ongoing “Dancing Cage” project, will feature three premieres, including a new piece written by Chris Arrell, assistant professor of music at Holy Cross, as well as a performance of John Cage’s masterpiece “Three Dances for Two Prepared Pianos.”   

Cage, one of the most radical and influential American composers of the 20th century, developed the idea of turning the piano into a “percussion orchestra” by introducing diverse objects between the strings of the instrument. Remarkable among these compositions is the rarely performed “Three Dances for Two Prepared Pianos” from 1945. For many years, the Duo wanted to play this major work, but it was impractical to program along with other repertoire because of the amount of preparations involved (nearly 200 objects including screws, bolts, weather-stripping, plastic, rubber, coins, etc.). The project “Dancing Cage” is based on the idea to commission composers to write for the two prepared pianos as used in the “Three Dances”—a chance to revisit the Cage aesthetic and to produce new works with these legendary sounds.

Hailed as “dazzling” (Los Angeles Times), “beyond brilliant” (San Francisco Classical Voice) and “simply stunning” (Gramophone), the Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo has been presenting innovative programs of contemporary music throughout Europe and the Americas since 1995, including works by Cage, Debussy, Feldman, Kagel, Kurtág, Ligeti, Nancarrow, Sciarrino, Stravinsky and Wolpe. They have premiered dozens of pieces, many written especially for the Duo, and they have worked directly with such renowned composers as Louis Andriessen, Lukas Foss, Betsy Jolas, Bernard Rands, Steve Reich and Kevin Volans.

PROGRAM CHANGE: Pianist Jacob Greenberg will be filling in for Helena Bugallo. Greenberg’s work as a soloist and chamber musician has earned worldwide acclaim. As a longtime member of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), he has appeared throughout the U.S. and abroad to perform the most innovative music of our time.